I've returned from my travels refreshed and rejuvenated.  I also return with a story to tell.  During my time away I was able to some shopping.  Shopping in particular at the Northampton, MA menswear boutique Jackson & Connor.  J&C; was created in 2008 by co-owners Tara Tetreault and Candice Connors.  The boutique is built on the premise of classically modern apparel and it does not disappoint.  These ladies have over 30 years of menswear experience between them and they both have a wealth of knowledge to offer.  They certainly kept me on my toes during my visit.

J&C; offers clothing and gear options for two types of men.  The Jackson man as described by the owners is a little more fashionably aggressive, follows the latest trends, vacations in Cancun and/or Miami, and is likely to be a business owner.  The Connor manis described as traditional with a twist, is more likely to be found in dress slacks or khakis rather than jeans, drives and Audi or Lexus, and vacations in Martha's Vineyard.

During my visit I was able to dissect the boutiques offerings and they have a strong lineup of traditional powerhouses like Jhane Barnes, Robert Graham, Jack Victor, and Toscano.  Other lesser known but just as impressive lines they carry are Projek Raw, Retro Sport, and Gala.  I was pleased with such a  large and diverse selection for such a small and relatively new boutique.  The owners have obviously worked hard to build relationships with the right vendors and their efforts are paying off.

The store's environment is decidedly modern, rugged, masculine, eclectic, and is inviting for men of all ages and professions.  It's the kind of place a man can go pick up his suit jacket freshly tailored, choose a new sport shirt for the street or a new tie for the office all while sipping a Scotch and talking hem lines and silhouettes with two beautiful women.  What more can a well-dressed man (or aspiring to be well-dressed man) ask for?

Aside from the clothing options J&C; offers an exclusive line of grooming products from Jack Black. (No, not the actor)  Everything a man needs from facial scrub to sun tan lotion is offered in store or it can be ordered upon request.  J&C; also carries a variety of Eau De Parfum fragrances that are suited just right for the Spring and Summer.  We were pleased to see such a high quality scent offered since we were recently discussing the topic.

The owners were generous enough to allow me the privilege of purchasing some of their wears in order to inspect the quality of their garments.  I was fortunate enough to pick up two linen/cotton dress shirts, one short sleeved gingham sport shirt, one plaid dress shirt, and one windbreaker.  I tried on several other items (sport coats, khakis, dress slacks) but having an athlete's body is a blessing and a curse and not everything fit as it should so I went with the best options.  Below are some photos of my purchases.  So far I can say that the quality of my purchases is exceptional and I'm excited to pair my new options with my old.

Cotton & linen blend dress shirts
Cotton dress shirt (l) Cotton sport shirt (r)

I always try to be an objective critic, and while J&C; has many things going well for them I noticed some aspects where they could improve.  I was disappointed in the selection of ties in the store.  The available options were the tried and true 100% silk in the standard width and the standard silk bow ties.  While every man needs these staples in his wardrobe I would've liked to have seen some other fabric options like cotton linen, or seersucker for the warm months ahead.  Alternative widths would have also been nice.  Another area I noticed lacking was the hosiery options.  All of the socks were dark and boring.  Socks are a bit of an obsession for me and I would have liked to see more color and pattern variety and again in different materials like pima cotton.  Along with the lack of sock options the undershirt offerings could have been better.  To give them credit J&C; does carry the 2(x)ist underwear line which is very credible.  I used to wear their product myself years ago.  But the placement and amount of product seemed to me like an after thought instead of a priority.  To alleviate this issue I introduced the owners to the RibbedTee company.  We hope that this relationship can take off and that we will be seeing RibbedTee on the shelves at J&C.;  We are always looking for ways to connect our friends in the industry to help serve men better.

In the end Jackson & Connor certainly has much more going for them than they do against them.  I highly recommend them to all my followers.  You can write, call, or stop in on your way through town.  Tell them Grant sent you!

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